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Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Thursday tabled an Order to bring into effect the CARIFORUM-United Kingdom (UK) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and to ratify Guyana’s partnership with the UK.
The Order tabled by the Finance Minister follows Britain’s recent exit from the European Union (EU) – BREXIT.
“Just prior to the conclusion of 2020 and immediately before BREXIT came into force, the Finance Minister had signed the Order while noting that access to the UK market would remain uninterrupted once the new CARIFORUM-UK pact was promulgated,” a statement from the Finance Ministry said.
The Ministerial Order signed on December 30, 2020 sought to bring into effect as of January 1, 2021, the latter agreement to allow for continuity of the already existing preferential trading and investment relations for CARIFORUM states which trade with the UK.
Following the June 23, 2016 UK referendum to exit the EU and the concerns raised about the likely negative impact this would have on regional trade, CARIFORUM Ministers and the UK Government agreed to a roll over of the CARIFORUM-EU-EPA to take effect once the UK finally exited the EU.
“The roll over agreement resulted in the CARIFORUM-UK EPA and would allow for a seamless process to ensure uninterrupted market access and other EPA benefits for itself and for CARIFORUM in trade with the UK,” the statement said.
Following the tabling of the Order, Dr. Singh said the Government of Guyana considers the UK a “very highly valued trade and economic partner”. It is for this reason the Minister said that the Government places the highest importance on ensuring a seamless transition to the post-BREXIT dispensation, in the interest of ensuring uninterrupted market access as well as continued and increasing levels of trade between the two countries.
The Order is expected to be debated at the next sitting of the National Assembly.